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The meaning of “Sussudio” according to Phil Collins

Phil Collins


The meaning of “Sussudio” according to Phil Collins

During the 70s, Phil Collins went from being the drummer to also becoming the vocalist for Genesis after Peter Gabriel decided to leave the band. But it was in the 80s, with the release of his firsts solo albums that he really became a huge star.


One of his biggest hits was the song “Sussudio” from his third album “No Jacket Required”, released in 1985. But what does that word mean?

The meaning of “Sussudio” according to Phil Collins

A worldwide hit, “Sussudio” peaked at number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and number 12 on the United Kingdom singles chart. Curiously, the word actually didn’t exist and didn’t mean anything as Collins said over the years. He usually composed the music first and then humbled whatever appeared on his mind and one day the word “sussudio” simply came out.

He recalled that story in an interview with David Leterman in 1985 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “It’s simple, really. Is a word that I made up. I didn’t even make it up, it just came out of my mouth when I was recording at home. (People) laughed at ‘Be Pop a Lula’, I wasn’t around (when that was released) but someone must have laughed. ‘Tutti Frutti’ (also), I mean. I (first) write the music and then I’ll sing into a microphone: ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, su-su-su-dio.’ Just because of the rhythm of the word felt so good.”

“I was originally gonna replace it but I couldn’t find a word that meant anything that (sounded) so well. So I got stuck with it. So I had to reverse it and think: ‘Ok, this is the word. What does it mean?’ So I invented a meaning, which is actually a girl’s name.”

He was then asked if he ever met a girl named ‘Sussudio’ and he replied: ‘No, but in nine months time you never know (laughs). This (song) might find it’s way into the name books,” Phil Collins said.

He once said it was the name of a horse his daughter had

Although Collins said many times it was simply a word that came out of his mouth when he was writing the song, he changed that version once.  In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in 2002, he said it was actually from a horse.

“It’s a horse. My daughter had a horse, and she called it Sussudio. It seemed okay as a name, like Kylie, Ringo, or Elvis.”

Phil Collins is not a fan of “No Jacket Required”

“No Jacket Required” is one of the most successful solo albums of Collins’ career but he doesn’t like that record so much. Besides “Sussudio” it has tracks like “One More Night” and “Take Me Home”, which were also big hits.

However, in an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2016, he said it was one of his least-favorite ones. “Why do you have to bring me down by asking about this one? It’s from one of my least-favorite records, No Jacket Required. I wanted to work with different people at the time, people that could do things I wasn’t capable of doing. So I got ahold of Dave Frank (System), and I said, “Do you fancy having a go at this?” He programmed the whole song. There’s a killer horn section. At the time, I wasn’t being me. I’ve grown up a bit now and much prefer to play songs that are me. I only play a bit part in that one,” Phil Collins said.

“Sussudio” was part of the cult-classic movie “American Psycho”

Directed by Mary Harron with Christian Bale in the lead role, “American Psycho” was released in 2000 and became a cult-classic. Besides the incredible story, direction and acting, the movie is also known for memorable lines and scenes.

The serial killer in the movie is a huge fan of music and there is a scene where he plays the track and says: “This is ‘Sussudio’, a great, great song. A personal favorite”.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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